The Last of Us Part II Review

June 23, 2020

The Last of Us Part II is the long-awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed survival/horror game The Last of Us. In this game, players take the role of several different survivors in a world ravaged by monsters. These monsters make for a scary and formidable enemy for players to contend with. In true post-apocalyptic fashion, however, fellow humans also pose major problems. 

At the end of the day, however, The Last of Us Part II isn’t a game that everyone will enjoy. It will be highly divisive and challenging, but certainly worth talking about nonetheless. It may be difficult to decide whether or not this story is for a certain person. As such, it’s worth doing a little research before taking a leap into this gorgeous game. Let’s break down The Last of Us Part II.

A difficult narrative

Players will more than likely know what to expect when starting their game. The Last of Us was an emotionally draining, deeply saddening tale back in 2013. It is only natural that the sequel would carry on this tone in 2020. However, 2020 may possibly be the absolute worst year for a dark game such as this to release.

That shouldn’t take away from the story presented here, though. The game is driven by a narrative that is difficult to digest, but worth experiencing either way. Things will not go as you may want them to. However, they do go to some fantastic places and explore the depths of these character’s perspectives.

Players take the role of Ellie, the 19-year-old survivor of the first game. In her adventure, she travels to the dangerous city of Seattle in pursuit of a group who has wronged her in life-altering ways. Accompanied by her partner Dina, Ellie must scour the city while searching for these people. However, the couple also become ensnared in a vicious war between a militaristic organization and a wicked cult.

The story also puts players in control of a newcomer to the series: Abby. This character’s story runs alongside Ellie’s journey. The tale explores the relationships and dangers of Seattle, as well as Abby’s own personal guilt over past actions and her desire for redemption.

In the end, it really comes down to the player’s preferences on what they enjoy in a plot. This is most definitely not a game for everyone, and that is perfectly okay. If you do enjoy seeing a character be pushed to their limits and grow as a result, then this may be worth a look. Although, the depressing events depicted in The Last of Us Part II may be a bit too much for some people who have had a tough year in 2020.

Gameplay

As soon as the player picks up the controller, it is easy to see that The Last of Us Part II feels good to play. It feels like a smoother, more polished version of the original game’s mechanics. However, there are a few upgrades to the formula. While this doesn’t make the game feel incredibly fresh or new, it is an advancement in the end.

Stealth and combat are both major mechanics that the player will use during the game. Naturally, there are a few ways to improve the player character as the game progresses. Fans of the first one will recognize the upgrade systems, as they haven’t changed much at all. The standout improvement would be the workbench animations for guns. 

These animations are very fun to watch and are also very satisfying. They don’t effect the game in any meaningful way, but seeing your upgraded weapons being used in combat is a nice bonus. 

A slight downside to gameplay that feels this good is the lack of a multiplayer component this time around. The game doesn’t require or call for it at all, but the original game’s multiplayer in this style would have been a very nice side treat for players to enjoy.

Long days ahead

While The Last of Us Part II is an incredible game, it isn’t without flaws. For instance, the game does feel like it stretches on a bit too long. This becomes increasingly more apparent during long stretches of gameplay where not much actually happens. 

This is a game about journeys, much like the first one. However, it seemingly takes forever to go from point A to point B with precious little happening between. The frustrating thing is that this is inconsistent.

There are some chapters that pull this off quite well and were able to keep me engaged throughout. Then there were others that had me openly hoping for the next story segment to finally begin. Fortunately, those pacing issues seem to disappear about halfway through, as if the game finally found solid footing. 

Fear is effective

The Last of Us did feature some spooky moments for players to crawl through. However, they were far from as scary as they could have been. The Last of Us Part II fixes this issue significantly. 

The infected start out just as they were in the original game. Dangerous, but none too scary for people who know how to deal with them. As the story progresses, however, there are situations where these monsters become something to be concerned about. Plus, the inclusion of a few new types of infected helps make them more than a minor inconvenience this time around.

Incredible accessibility 

Ironically, the game that is not for everyone is also a game that can be experienced by more people than most games can. The Last of Us Part II comes complete with a variety of very helpful accessibility options. These range from options for those who are hard of hearing to those who have issues with vision. 

The Last of Us Part II is accessible to a large variety of players who may not have been able to enjoy this story otherwise. Hopefully, this sets an example of what developers should strive to achieve: making games more accessible to all audiences. 

Final Verdict

The Last of Us Part II is a fantastic game that is somewhat held back by the sheer length of its story. The pacing issues can really diminish what is a wonderful story that explores revenge and the different perspectives of the people involved within it.

The game plays very well and really adds a bit to the original game’s story. The old characters have some depth added to them, plus some really great new characters are added to the cast. The caliber of voice acting and motion capture that went into these performances are honestly hard to beat right now. More than anything, it actually left me wanting to see what happens to these characters next.

Category: Reviews

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In this article

Developer:
Naughty Dog
Publisher:
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms:
Genres:
Release:
June 19, 2020

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